For the US athletes, it was a fantasy realised as they mounted the podium to collect their gold medals at the 2012 Olympics. It was also the proudest moment for one Englishman from north
The sober grey of the garment baffled many Americans, but the point of them was the hyper-reflective shell coating which is intended to glow in the spotlights and convey the luminosity of America's sporting talent. Undoubtedly, too, thought had been given to the fact that their inoffensive appearance made them adaptable as streetwear for any fans with
It's Treasarden's job to devise sportsgear for
"The usual red and white was replaced with a redcurrant shirt with commemorative graphics and it was amazing to see a stadium full of fans and the footballers in our creation saying goodbye to the stadium after nearly a century."
Injuries prevented Treasarden – an accomplished runner – from competing on the sports field in person; instead his skills are displayed in the international arena on the world's top athletes. Once a graphics designer for
Treasarden was steered into sportwear design by his twin loves of art and athletics. "As soon as I was physically able to hold a pencil I began drawing," he says. "As I got older I did competition track and field to a reasonably high standard."
A foundation art course at
When he began, he coveted the latest sportsgear for the prestige of the labels: by the time he left, he had become fascinated by the science behind the designs. His final degree show, in which he exhibited adventurously patterned cotton football shirts, was noticed by the German design company Puma, which bought his concept for enough money to pay off his student debt.
Months of job-hunting followed his graduation into a recession-hit economy until he was recruited by a US-owned T-shirt producer, Nutmeg Mills, which held licences to produce garments for the big US football and collegiate teams. When the company closed three years later, Treasarden was sufficiently experienced in graphics to secure a post with a firm licensed to produced Formula One merchandise. "I went from designing two-dimensional graphics to whole uniforms for the Formula One teams plus merchandise for Pepsi and the launch of the new Star Wars sequel," he says. "I and my team would come up with a concept like turning R2D2 into a slide projector and the marketing guys would pitch it to the client – so it was gruelling work with long hours and last-minute revisions."
His work was spotted by a sportswear recruiter and in 2001 he moved to
"In London it was great – I'd study people on the street and on the Tube to see what was going on in culture and fashion," he says. "That's not so easy in
The design department is governed by a strict schedule to tap into the sporting seasons. "A new project starts with a brief and then a design period of eight weeks or so when we're sketching and throwing ideas about. We then take our concepts to the product managers for a business review when they're tweaked or revised. Then we get the prototypes made up and face another business review when the kit is put on to models."
A degree in an art-related field is, he says, a vital qualification for a career in design – the
The thrill of seeing one's creations worn by sports stars is the reward of months of tension as designers attempt to sum up a nation, a sport and an era in a small swathe of fabric. And it is daunting convince the product managers of a brave new concept winning over the fans. Treasarden's first project for
"People either loved it or hated it and I quickly learned that opinions run strong and deep when it comes to team kits, which makes the job as nerve racking as it is thrilling."
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